The consultation process between the factions has started. However, given the arithmetic of parliamentary seats and the opposition to the Georgian Dream, a vote of no confidence in the government looks like an unfulfilled mission at this stage. After the July 12 demarche, the impression was left that the three opposition factions had returned to boycott mode. It turns out that this is not the case at all and the signatories are not going to refuse the “Charles Michel Agreement”.
Distrust of the government
On July 12, three opposition factions said that the main goal of their further actions would be a vote of no confidence in the government of Irakli Gharibashvili, who encouraged the country to witness uncontrolled raids by violent groups and mass attacks on journalists on July 5.
The initiative to dismiss the government was first announced by the Lelo – Partnership for Georgia faction on July 12. This happened after, in the wake of the physical confrontation of the deputies, a large part of the opposition left the parliament with a demarche.
On July 12, two other opposition factions, the United National Movement – United Opposition and the Charles Michel Reform Group, actively spoke out against the government.
These three factions hold a total of 46 seats. However, they are likely to be supported by several independent MPs as well.
Who will join this initiative?
According to the representative of the “Charles Michel Reform Group”, MP Paata Manjgaladze, “Several parties and groups have asked for time to make a final decision. ” And “in these days” it will be known whether the necessary number of votes is collected to initiate the issue.
“At least one good thing will come out in the end – lustration will take place, who wants changes in the country and who wants to maintain the existing reality” – says Manjgaladze.
According to Radio Liberty, the declaration of no-confidence in the government is not supported in principle by Fridon Injia “European Socialists”; Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s party “For Georgia” and Iago Khvichia’s “Girchi” are skeptical. They see the key to changing the government only in the next elections.
“Nothing stands in the way of participating in the consultations, obviously … I think it is very difficult to do that before the elections. I hope to win more elections “ – says Iago Khvichia.
The initiators are not going to back down. “Lelo” MP Badri Japaridze believes that MPs are obliged to show more responsibility in the dangerous situation in the country and use all the tools at their disposal.
“Georgian Dream” is convinced that the opposition will not be able to implement this plan.
“Starting to talk about the government’s distrust is an attempt to disguise the public’s distrust of them. This populist theme is invented for this. There is no reason for that. It will not be successful “ – MP Mikheil Sarjveladze, a representative of the Georgian Dream, told journalists on July 13.
If we look at the current situation in the Constitution and the Parliament, in all probability, the purpose of declaring a vote of no confidence in the government is doomed to premature failure.
What does the constitution tell us?
According to Article 57 of the Constitution of Georgia, a minimum of 50 deputies have the right to raise the issue of no confidence in the Government in the Parliament.
The parliamentary group initiating the issue is also required to:
- Naming a new candidate for Prime Minister;
- The candidate for prime minister, in turn, must present to parliament the new composition of the government and the government program.
Parliament cannot directly vote on the issue of no confidence. The issue of declaring confidence in the new composition of the government will be put to a vote. If the new government is supported by at least 76 deputies, distrust of the current government will be declared declared.
If we look at the scheme of distribution of seats in the Parliament:
- The resources available to the three factions in favor of raising the issue of no confidence are currently less than 50 seats;
- At this stage, only the Georgian Dream has the opportunity to mobilize the support of 76 deputies in the Parliament of Georgia. The ruling party has 84 deputies in parliament.
Considering the parliamentary arithmetic, it is clear to constitutionalist Levan Alapishvili that the opposition has embarked on an unfulfilled mission.
“Obviously, the opposition has the right to initiate, and if it gets the votes needed to initiate, it is easily probable what the final result will be … The Georgian Dream has the majority, and what other way is left for the opposition, except defeat?” – Levan Alapishvili tells us.
The constitutionalist also thinks that this defeat will be unprofitable for the opposition in the future as well, because according to another note of the constitution, they will be deprived of the opportunity to do the same for 6 months.
The constitution states: “If the parliament does not declare a vote of no confidence in the government after raising the issue of no confidence, it is inadmissible for the same members of parliament to raise the issue of no confidence in the next 6 months.”
Has the boycott been renewed?
Deputies from the three opposition factions in a motion of no confidence in the government also said on July 12 that they would abstain from the routine work of parliament, not enter the parliament and, as an exception, support only constitutional changes – a full-fledged electoral system.
At the same time, the signatories of the “Charles Michel Agreement” are not going to turn their backs on the agreement reached through the mediation and great efforts of international partners.
“We should not hurry anyway … The main thing for us is electoral reform and constitutional change, which will move us to a fully proportional system. All the parties that say they are boycotting – say, the National Movement and Lelo – also confirm that they will take part in the discussion of the issues under the “Charles Michel Agreement” … This document is the only way today to talk between the government and the opposition Shows ” – Paata Manjgaladze, MP from the Charles Michel Michel Reform Group, told RFE / RL’s Morning Talks program.
Paata Manjgaladze and also the representative of “Lelo” Ana Natsvlishvili are members of the 9-member commission of the General Public Discussion Commission working on the constitutional amendments.
The commission was discussed by the Committee on Procedural Issues and Rules on July 12, the very day when a large part of the opposition left the parliament in protest.
The “National Movement” has not signed the “Charles Michel Agreement”, however, as MP Khatia Dekanoidze states, their faction will join the voting on the constitutional amendments.
MPs from the UNM bloc are also talking about the possibility of setting up a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the July 5 events.
“The UNM will use absolutely all the levers at its disposal, be it: parliamentary, street rallies, protests … to punish all the perpetrators” – said UNM MP Zaal Udumashvili on July 13.
Georgian Dream states that, as a non-signatory, the UNM is not required to fulfill the “Charles Michel Agreement”; And the ruling opposition reminds the other opposition forces that the terms of the agreement need to be respected.
“I will remind them that one of the main commitments made in the April 19 agreement is to be involved in parliamentary work … So – separation from parliamentary activities would be a violation of the April 19 agreement.” – Georgian Dream MP Shalva Papuashvili told journalists.
Opposition groups claim that Charles Michel’s agreement has long been violated by the Georgian Dream itself, and that, for example, despite a clear record of the suspension of the process, the majority urgently approved it on July 12. Candidates for judges of the Supreme Court.
Almost all the issues discussed so far in the framework of the Charles Michel Agreement were mainly disputed:
- An agreement could not be reached on the issue of amnesty in connection with the events of June 20, the draft of which finally took the desired shape for the Georgian Dream and was suspended after two hearings;
- On June 28, the parliament approved the updated Election Code in the third and final reading, which was not supported, for example, by the factions of the National Movement and Lelo;
- The issue of the candidates nominated by the President for the post of the Chairman of the Central Election Commission remains controversial. Both candidates are incumbent high-ranking CEC officials;
- Work on “Ambitious Judicial Reform”, which is also a clear commitment under the Charles Michel Agreement, has been delayed.
It is clear to constitutionalist Levan Alapishvili that the Georgian Dream is reading the “Charles Michel Agreement” for its own sake and is “serving its own interests,” while the opposition cannot properly oppose it.
Alapishvili tells us that, for example, the opposition itself could have initiated a legislative package related to judicial reform and brought the ruling party to justice.